Soul mates & segments: Why personalization is just like dating

It’s 2018: What’s love got to do with it? Both dating and digital marketing have changed greatly in the last decade. And, as they continue to evolve in real life and online, more similarities are emerging between how we attract attention and connect with others.

We’ve moved from practicing pick-up lines at a bar to swiping a finger on our phone. Instead of fumbling nervously through an initial conversation, we can type and delete as many drafts as needed. And it isn’t just dating that’s shifted to smart phones and computers. People now make more purchases online than they do in brick-and-mortar stores. We conduct video-chat meetings and send emails instead of letters. Our lives are officially digital.

What hasn’t changed throughout this technological evolution, however, is the root of human connection. Ultimately, we all want to be seen and understood. We want to connect with others by way of commonalities, interests, values and so on. Just as we pick up our phones to do some digital digging on a future date prospect, we research and browse different products and brands before making a purchase.

And just as a social media or online dating profile identifies who you are, a website explains what your business is and why it matters – the value you offer them. Your website is critical in attracting and converting consumers. The delicate dance between a business and a customer at the beginning of their relationship is similar to a budding romance. Do they like me? Do we have anything in common? Will I ever see them again (on my website)?

By personalizing your website experience based on who’s visiting, you can show consumers that you see them and understand their individuality and motivations. In fact, you’re probably already personalizing your marketing in other ways. Now, it’s time to extend that targeted experience on-site to better engage your audience and increase sales. With website personalization, you can break down your audience personas into segments based on where they’re located, what campaign drove them to your site, browsing behavior, demographics and more. The ability to personalize your website based on segments benefits customer engagement and satisfaction – as well as sales.

Seventy-eight percent of U.S. consumers said that personally relevant content from brands increased their purchase intent. Just imagine if someone looking for a new sports watch landed on a personalized website experience with images of local athletes wearing your products, links to your top sports watch models, articles about choosing the right features for your needs, and so on. It would certainly be more intriguing – and convert more clicks – than a generic homepage leading to a cluttered product page.

The age-old ad practice of throwing the same messages out to everyone is no longer effective when compared to the personalized alternative.

Let’s say advertising is like a bad blind date with someone who doesn’t stop talking long enough to ask you a single question. We’ve all been there, right? Personalization, then, is the dating ideal.

Personalization means taking the time to get to know the person you’re meeting and using that information to ask intelligent questions and find common ground. To provide them with a personalized experience that takes into account their individuality, you have to acknowledge that they are different from the last person you dated or the last customer who bought your product.

Of course, you may need a few pointers before a first date*, and the same goes for the first time you personalize your website. We explain below:

Do your research (but don’t creep them out). It’s just as important to know who you’re talking to online as it is in person. Who are your consumers? Why would they look at your website? By understanding consumer needs and motivations, you can meet them where they are and offer more value. The increasing majority of consumers recognize all of the data available, and expect that companies will be able to anticipate needs and make relevant suggestions.

Make a good first impression: Easier said than done, right? Consumers have short attention spans (eight seconds, eek!) and you need to cultivate a connection quickly. That’s why segmenting your visitors is important –they will immediately see a website experience that’s tailored to their demographics and interests, which will hopefully keep them interested for a longer period of time.

Cultivate your connection: If a first date goes well, you have to continue communicating in order to connect and build a relationship foundation. It’s the same way in business. To get customers to return, you have to keep them interested. What value do you offer? That can range from relevant product promotions to branded content. If you understand their individual needs, 70 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to be loyal.

Don’t fixate: It’s not always a love connection. There’s a je ne sais quoi in love that translates to business. If someone doesn’t connect with your brand and story, move on! There are plenty of other people who will like what you have to offer. Focus on delivering the best experience for those audience segments who are interested.

*Unfortunately, the Persosa team is not actually qualified to give out dating advice. But if you have any questions about website personalization, we can help.